Thursday 13 November 2014

Chapter --- (6), Hindustan-Tibet Road fantasy. (July-August) 2014

Continuation from my Blog's previous chapter

Our next en-route journey is from Kalpa ---- Roghi village ---- Back to Kalpa ---- Back to Rekong Peo (ATMs & Petrol Pumps are here) ---- Back to Powari (Last Petrol Pump is here too. Then the next Petrol Pump is at Kaza town which is about 260 Km from here) ---- Akpa ---- Poo ( In this village Petrol fuel is available only at a  particular Shop, who charges extra money for every litre) ----Doubling ---- Yangthang --- Nako village

Kalpa is situated at an altitude of (9,711feet) above MSL.

It’s population is (1,236), comprising of 310 famalies only.


We liked the tranquility of this village so much that we wouldn't mind visiting this village once again

Earlier Kalpa was the headquarters of Kinnaur district, but later changed to Reckong Peo. 

Kalpa Village

 Since Reckong Peo is crowded and most noisy town, we decided not to stay there. Instead we decided to stay at Kalpa village, which is about 10 Km away from Reckong Peo and is a beautiful, peaceful, serene, tranquil and tranquilizing paradise.

From Rekong Peo there are two roads those leads to Kalpa. First one is, an old road to Kalpa that leads from the Right side of the main circle of the Rekong Peo town and  the second one is which leads from Left side of the main circle of the Rekong Peo town. Ignorantly we took the old road to Kalpa which goes from the Right side of the main circle of the Rekong Peo town. After driving for a little while, we immediately realized that we had taken the wrong road. Because it was a narrow, deplorable mud road which was full of potholes with uneven and badly worn out edges of the road. This road is generally used only by the local inhabitants, who live in villages those come on this side of the road.  Since we were already driving on this road, we decided to continue and try our luck. As it was raining heavily and the fog was so thick that  the visibility was not beyond two feet of distance. Though we had kept our "car’s-head-lights-ON", but still we could not see the  narrow road properly. It was getting darker and darker by minutes and because of the poor visibility, the drive became so stressful, that we decided to park our car on one side of the road and just relax. After may be about 10 to 15 minutes, we again continued driving. Nearing Kalpa village we came at a junction of a fork roads where there were two roads splitting. We didn't know which one to take to reach Kalpa village. Because of continuous heavy rain and thick Fog, not even a single soul was around to help us or guide us. Anyway we took our chances and decided to take a road on the Left side of the fork, which goes down. Luckily that was the right decision, because that road is the one which goes down straight to Kalpa Bus stand. We parked our car in one corner of the Bus stand itself and checked in the nearest Hotel named as “New Shivalik Guest house” owned by Deblok Group of Hotels, Calcutta. 

Though it was already late in the evening and we were exhausted and famished, we decided to have some thing to eat first. Immediately after checking in, we had dinner at a nearby Restaurant called as "Mayur Cafe", which is at the Bus Stand itself.

Then under the street lights of the village, for about an hour we went around few places which were closer to our hotel itself. Then after coming back to our hotel room, we were dead tired and we just threw ourselves on our beds and got knocked down into deep frenzy sleep. We slept like a dead Log.

Day (5), 20th July 2014:--- The awesome view of Kinner Kailash peak was clearly visible from the window of our hotel room. The whole view was a real treat to our eyes, mind and soul. Mind you the majestic view  was soothing, comforting and mind boggling experience.

We got up leisurely and pampered ourselves with hot water bath, nice shave and nice deodorant spray. Since last three days, it hadn't stopped raining. After heavy breakfast at our hotel “New Shivalik" itself, we took out our umbrellas and ventured out on foot to visit the famous temple and the Monastery of Kalpa village called as  “Narayan-Nagini” Temple and “Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar Monastery”. And did little shopping too. We bought two traditional Kullu-Caps, each one for each of us.  In fact just to kill time, we did more of window shopping in the whole town, than the actual shopping. And Guruduth Kamath got busy with his photo shoot sessions.

View of three Majestic Peaks from KALPA   VILLAGE

Jarkanden Peak is (14,760 feet)) above MSL” 

 KInner Kailash Peak  is (13,780 feet) above MSL”
Roldang Peak is (12,537 feet) above MSL
Kalpa is a moderate plateau with a history of ancient temples and its religious mythologies. Here in this small town the main attractions are “Narayan-Nagini” temple and “Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar monastery”. This monastery was founded by “Rinchensang-po” ( 950-1055 AD ), where as the “Narayan-Nagini” Temple is believed to be 1500 years old. From Kalpa we can get the spectacular and impressive view of three peaks “Roldang Peak which is (12,537 feet) above MSL”, “Jarkanden Peak which is (14,760 feet)) above MSL” and the “Kinner Kailash Peak which is (13,780 feet) above MSL”. The local inhabitants follow a syncretism of Hinduism and Buddhism and many temples around Kalpa are dedicated to both Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. 

Above all the pictures are of “Narayan-Nagini” temple and “Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar Monastery”
It's a painting of “Narayan-Nagini” temple and “Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar monastery” done in 1864
 The Monetary and the Narayn temple, are next to each other and are connect with the upper Kalpa through a series of stone steps. But the gradient of these step are so steep that we outsider tourists while walking, start gasping, panting and feel breathless.

One of the most famous music director of Himachal Pradesh,Surender Negi,  is from Kalpa.

Surender Negi, Born in 1971
Upper Kalpa town has many posh and luxurious guest houses. The tariff  range from Rs.1,500/- to Rs. 3,500/- per night. Kalpa has almost all the basic required facilities like post office, hospital, Schools, shops and small restaurants. These restaurants offer Indian and Chinese foods for the tourists. In the village there are many private “Home Stays” type of guest houses  offering rooms, beds and breakfasts.

This small Dhaba like eating place is very close to Temple and Monastery. Here we almost had all the meals while our stay at Kalpa. She always served us with a smile, freshly cooked hot meals.

Day (6), 21st July 2014:---It’s our 2nd morning at Kalpa. Since last four days, it had been continuously raining nonstop. The whole area was wet with rain water and thick clouds. Due to heavy rain wetness, even our spirits felt depressing, soggy and drenched. Because Guru wanted to click pictures but could not do because of rain and clouds. Then we had heavy breakfast and out of frustration we drove our car to explore nearby places around Kalpa.

Each wrinkle of this tatty, weathered and time battered face, depicts the endless stories of his harsh past  

Kalpa is inhabited by Kinnauri  people, who seem to be very honest, friendly, helpful, humble and most hospitable.

Attraction Around Kalpa Village

Roghi Village:--It is situated at a altitude of (4,500 feet) above MSL and is about 6-7 KMs from Kalpa. But the condition of the road from Kalpa to Roghi was narrow,  an awfully dangerous and scary.

 It’s a very small village. We can call it more a hamlet  than a village. It has a very small population, and is known for its traditional lifestyle of Himachal.

Rain soaked apples on the way to Rogi village 

 It is surrounded by full of  apple orchards. Its a very nice place to have a short hikes or walk across village from Kalpa. Here in this soothing, seductive, serene, peaceful hamlet, we practically felt  as if the time had stopped and we were somewhere in the ancient past. These villagers here have such a great and vast knowledge of the origin of its inhabitants, its prehistory, its folk-lore, its mythology. its flora and fauna. If desired by tourists, they decently and politely share quite an enormous and amazing knowledge of the whole Kinnaur Valley and its region. 
 The Timeless Legend Speaks

 In this village there are two ancient temple which are supposed to be originally buit about more than 2,000 years ago. One temple house’s “God Narayan” and the other nearby temple is of “Goddess Kali” . Both these temples have been renovated many a times but they have maintained the old architecture and have slate- stone roof toppings.

At  Rogi Hamlet, this cliff is called as Suicide point. Because from this  end of the cliff, the jilted and dejected lovers commit suicide.

Kothi Village:-- Just 3 km from Recong Peo, this village has a Chanadika Devi temple which has an unusual architectural style and fine sculpture set amidst a picturesque mountains backdrop.

                                     Old Chandika Temple @ Kothi
Day (7), 22nd  July 2014:---We got up in the morning by 6 AM, had hot water bath, freshened ourselves and immediately after our heavy breakfast, we loaded our car and drove down towards our next destination that was “NAKO”
To go to “NAKO”, we had to drive down first back to Reckong Peo and then to “POWAR”. This time while coming down from Kalpa village towards Reckong Peo, we took the “New main Tar-Road”, which is wide and good road. Though it is 10km from Kalpa to Reckong Peo, but because of early morning less traffic and good road, we reached Reckong Peo within just 10 minutes. Here Gurudatt wanted to buy new reading glasses, because previous day, he had lost his reading glasses. At seven in the morning none of the shops were opened, so we continued driving down towards Powari village which is at NH-22. Because of the anxiety of the road conditions of our further journey, we forgot to fill petrol at Reckong Peo and here at Powari too. The next petrol bunk is at Kaza which is about 230 Km from here.  And without realizing our blunder we drove straight towards “Nako”.

Powari is situated at an altitude of (8,500 feet) above MSL.

From Powari right upto Kaza, the road gets from bad to worst. All along at different distances of the road, there are many huge hoardings installed by (BRO), which reads that this road is one of the most treacherous Road in the world. The whole stretch of NH-22, is maintained by (BRO), under the mission named as “DEEPAK”. Right from Powari to Grumpo via Kaza and Kunzum La the road is formidable.

It is high altitude’s most deplorable road that is so hazardous and treacherous that it is  a deadly nightmare to drive a small car-ALTO like mine, which has the least bottom clearance. The whole stretch of the road was full of unexpected surprises of enormous and dangerous magnitude. 

The sudden horrifying landslides which would come down with rumbling shooting stones and huge boulders, those while hitting the road surface would break road into bits and fragments. Sudden flash floods caused by Nallas, which while gushing down bring with it, huge shooting stones and tonnes of mud-slush. The mud is so sticky and thick that it practically gets glued to vehicle tyres, which loose  road grips that  can causes vehicles to skid and lose control of driving that can lead to any serious fatal accidents. All along the landslides areas, nonstop BRO men were working and clearing the road blocks and were controlling the traffic too.

“AKPA” village. “AKPA” is the last village in KInnaur District. After AKPA, the district “Pooh” starts

Somehow we managed to reach “AKPA” village. “AKPA” is the last village in KInnaur District. After AKPA, the district “Pooh” starts. we met couple of foreign bikers here, who were heading towards Kalpa. We just briefed them about the road condition as well as about Kalpa village.

After  a little while we reached “SPILLOW” village  at about 10.54.AM At Spillo, sand from the Sutlej River Bed was getting dredged here and transported by Dumper Lorries to different construction sites
“SPILLOW” village

“SPILLOW” Bridge

At Spillo village at NH-22, there is a road junction, where one road goes to Poo village and the other leads straight towards Nako. Here we took a detour of 3 Km. road which climbs steep right up to Poo village

History of POO Or POOH  town
Poo is situated at an altitude of (8,736 feet) above MSL 
It's approximate population is (1,192)

Poo, or Pooh, also spelled Puh, is a small town in Kinnaur district. It is also known as "Spuwa". The approximate population given within a 7 km radius of the town is (1,192).

Poo is 25 km from Powari along National Highway 22. It is renowned for its natural beauty, green fields, apricot orchards, vineyards and almond trees. Inscriptions, suggest that Poo was an important trading centre in the early 11th century.
Inscriptions, in"entirely Tibetan", suggests that Poo was an important trading centre in the early 11th century..
Distant view of Poo Village

When A. H. Francke arrived in Poo from the south in July, 1910, it was the first village he found where the language was "entirely Tibetan".

There is an ancient temple, the Lotsaba-bai-lha-khang, dedicated to  “Shakyamuni” or “ Lord Buddha” and attributed to the great translator (or Lotsaba), “Rinchen Zangpo”  (958–1055). The shrine has wooden columns supporting a high ceiling. It has murals and a painted door from the period of “Rinchen Zangpo” (10th to 11th century), though they are in a poor state of preservation.

There is a local pre-Buddhist deity, “Dablā”, who has no dwelling or altar in Poo (although he has a Devata  temple devoted to him at Kanum. His only manifestation is a pole with a small idol set on its upper portion and adorned with yak tail hair and long pieces of coloured cloth.

Small Market of Poo village
About 10kms. ahead of Pooh, river Sutlej enters India near Shipki la & Spiti river joins it at Khab.

 Poo is  on NH-22, there is a detour which turns to the right side and the road climbs steep up that reaches Poo town. From Spillo, Poo is at about 3 Km distance. At Spillo, while turning towards Poo, one lady who was walking up to Poo, asked for a lift. We gave her lift. While talking we inquired about the availability of Petrol fuel. she told us that at Poo town there is a shop who sells petrol fuel also and then from that shop itself we could drive down through Army camp, to join NH-22. We needn’t come back on this road again. Her information was very helpful, because our car Petrol was getting exhausted and the next nearest Petrol bunk was at Kaza, which is about 200 Km away from here.  
Army camp at Poo
And at the same time we saved lot of time, while driving down through Army camp barracks from other side of the town.  

We had reached Pooh village at 12.45. at noon time.  After seeing the Monastery, We rushed through the narrow lane of the town, to the only shop where Petrol was available. We had to pay Rs. 10/- extra per liter. We filled our car tank with 20 liters of petrol. To come back, I couldn't manage to reverse my car, because of the narrow lane. Then a local driver came and helped me reversing the car. We let Pooh at 1.30. Since in the Poo town there are no eating joints, so lunch was not available. Then we just brought about a dozen of Bananas and headed towards Doubling Village.

 Doubling (5,745 feet Above MSL).  From here a tunnel like road took us towards :NAKO”. Most of the time Sutlej river and beautiful valley were running all along to our Left side of the road. The view became very scenic while the road becomes very dreadful.

To climb up towards Nako village, the road was winding up like a snake with sharp bends, which climb the mountain road till we reach at a “Y” junction. At this junction, the highway takes a U-turn to climb up (right/east) towards Yangthanga as well as Nako village. The lower road leads to Leo village. The old NH22 passes though Yangthang village. The new NH22 passes close to the Nako village and crosses the Malling nala at a greater altitude, thus reducing the chances of closure of highway due to land slides.

 My next Blog to be Continued in the next chapter.

Link of my previous chapter


  1. Baiji adventurous spirit baptized decades ago is still intense,envious to me though all my life i wandered in mountains inaccessible area yet didn't enjoy as you did and projected, your zeal is unmatched among the people of j&k state

    1. Thank you Veerji.
      Veerji can you send me wattal's email Id so that I can email my Blogs Links to him too

  2. Dear dad.....amazing as always....Thank god that u r with us in a sisingl piece....Hee...Love u always....and proud of u always

    1. Shweta don't worry I wouldn't disappear so soon. I have yet to trouble and frustrate so many people.

  3. Ashok, would this area be more comfortable on a bike or in the car? The road is so rugged and it might be fun on a motorcycle. Like riding a "trail bike".

    1. For Motor Bike ride, it is too dangerous road.

  4. Really nice write up Ashok ji. I felt as if i was travelling to all those mountain villages in the Himalayan region. As usual Guru sirs photography is extraordinary and helped building a realistic experience for the reader.

  5. The place is so mystic yet so beautiful, and yet Nature is at her full glory there!himachal tour package